Shortage in dental professionals inspires new LATC programming

Lake Area Technical College in Watertown is opening a new program for dental hygienists.

Nicole Paul is LATC program director for dental assisting She said the program fills a gap in the state’s labor market.

“There has been a need for dental assistance and dental hygienists in South Dakota for quite a while,” Paul said. “Dental assisting has three school options available in South Dakota, whereas dental hygiene has only had one school option available. So, since COVID, we’ve noticed there’s been a large amount of dental offices just crying for professionals.”

Paul said students considering health care should look at the dental field.

“One of the nice things about dental is we don’t have evening or weekend hours, whereas a lot of the medical profession does,” Paul said. “So, I just want to reiterate that we are a part of the medical profession. We are the gateway to the human body. Most people enjoy eating, and we help them maintain oral health so they can enjoy their pastimes.”

Potential students are encouraged to call the LATC offices to inquire about the program.

Source: Shortage in dental professionals inspires new LATC programming /

One Response

  • Dentistry has long suffered from a lack of strategic planning, as it relates to workforce. Technology, an ever more complex American population, with ever increasing longevity, has resulted in needs for well educated and highly skilled dental office staff, while far too many practices look to hiring off the street.

    I see O.R. technology as the equivalent of what today’s dental assistants should be modeled after, someone ready and able to be in a modern dental operatory from the get go. Who among us can deny the fun of practicing with someone who really knows how things work, why they work and the complexity of contemporary dental patient care? Is there fun, in having to train in office?

    What is needed is an integrated means of educating DAs, RDHs, Dental Therapists, undergraduate and post-graduate dentists. Wouldn’t it be neat, if dental students were introduced to practice, while aided by a competent DA? Practice with RDHs and therapists.

    Think of learning management, by being in a well organized team…

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